It is disheartening to discover that a large number of law students pass through the University without being engaged in one form of extra-academic activity or another. Some give very lame excuses for not being engage; while others simply pass it off as something of little or no significance. As much as it is of paramount importance that one stays focus on the basic reason why one attends a university, the role that extra-curricular engagements plays cannot be underestimated.

It is my honest assumption that the term “Extracurricular activity” is no dicey or mysterious word as we may have had the cause to have heard about it one way or the other. More often than not, being in an academically buoyant environment makes this word frequently used.

The word “Extracurricular” or Extra Academic Activity, is that activity, engagement, or work that falls outside the purview of the normal or regular curriculum of school or university education, carried out by students.
These activities could be performed in various organisations including: Moot and Mock society/committee, debate society/committee, firms or companies (in terms of internships), sport organisations, cultural and social organizations, student journalism, political organisations (e.g., student unionism), religious organisation, etc.
It is needless to emphasis that it is essential that students be taught to be long life learners, even beyond the walls of the school and life after school. I make bold to assert that there is far more to education than what is being rammed into the brains of students in the classroom and what can be gleaned from exhaustive poring over the pages of textbooks.

A plethora of benefits or advantages can be highlighted for ones engagement in extracurricular activities. However, I shall only adumbrate on five which I believe standout, among others.

    “There are some requisite ingredients in the delicacy of life that you cannot purchase from the market of the classroom, it has to be purchased out of it.” – Ikusika Bamidele
    If one is to subscribe to the adage that experience is the best teacher, then I do not see any reason why one cannot muster the experience needed in ones respective field of study by committing onesself to activities outside the realm of school work.
    It is imperative to note that experience is never taught in the classroom of the school, but taught in the classroom of life. And which better classroom can one be engaged in than that provided for by extracurricular activities.

By your engagement in extracurricular activities, there is a better opportunity to gain experience such as an effective way of relating with people, better way of managing crisis as a result of your involvement with people and things, advocacy, research, multi-tasking, and even little things as writing good letters, typing better on Microsoft Word and making PowerPoint presentations, etcetera.
On a lighter mode, no school curriculum will teach you how to “corporately” solicit funds, from firms, companies, ministries, etc., for a particular competition or event you have on hand. I have meet people who have gained enormous experience through this, and that I doubt if they will ever have any problem thinking of where to look at or how to initiate such in their future engagements. Only through extracurricular activities can such experience and mastery be horned and polished. I assure you that extracurricular activities helps give a turbo-boost to your experience level.

When I was in year one in the university, I often got this awkward feeling of being confined to a regimented and closed system of learning and development when involved in the normal school work, or the curricular activities. It was as if I were caged or something. However, as I progressed further, from my meticulous observations and the positive results of some persons who were proactive with extracurricular activities, I was certain that there was more than just want we thought we knew or learnt. I consequently got engaged in some choice extra-academic work. And within the shortest possible time, I was exposed to a wide new world! It was incredible! I got exposed to prominent people, beautiful places and developmental events or programmes that I never believed I would ever meet or go as an undergraduate.

As a matter of fact, I know a handful of my colleagues in the university who as a result of their involvement in extracurricular activities have been able to travel overseas for various competitions and events. (I believe one-day that I’ll too, Amen!)
Exposure to diverse groups of illustrious personalities, activities or places can help promote students to become socially bright and responsible to the herculean task of being fully engaged in the work. The bottom-line is that you will be exposed to persons, places and events of your widest imagination when you are fully active in extracurricular work.

It is your NETWORK that untilmately and invariably determines your NETWORTH.” – Ikusika Bamidele
At this juncture, I must say that by the word “network”, I am not referring to your telecom service provider. I simply refer to your connection, circle, net or web of intellectual, affluential and/or influential personalities. These are people who matter. These are people who know people. These are persons who know the right “button” to click to give you a desired future.
By your sincere association with extracurricular work, ample opportunities abound to build, expand and promote that network of yours. This is because the exposure you get from engaging in extracurricular activities ushers you into an endless world meeting with great minds and “deep pockets”!

Albert Einstein, a foremost physicist, once poignantly quipped that: “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” Also, it is famously said that one must never stop learning because life never stops teaching.
It is beyond debate that our education system has to a large extent restrict learning to the walls of blocks of classroom. We have a curriculum that is yet to be overhauled so as to meet the contemporary realities of education cum the legal practice in particular. Thus, there is a kind of a dysfunction in learning which should, in the first place, broaden the minds of budding lawyers about emerging contemporary areas of practice on which they can pitch their tents as opposed to the traditional or orthodox curricula.
So, being involved in extra-academic activities creates that avenue for learning at a rapid rate. The exposure and network you get kind of open your eyes to the immerse learning fora for self development.

Through your proactive approach to extracurricular activities, you get to sharpen, horne and Polish those innate skills or potential you have, which hitherto you were oblivious of. Some persons usually grumble and lament over the fact that they do not possess certain skills which they visibly see in others. I belive we are all indivually imbued with limitless potential that may remain dormant if not identified, cultivated and maximised.

It was Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States of America who intelligently said that: “Your ability needs responsibility to expose its possibilities. Do what you can with what you have where you are.”

Hence, spread your intellectual and social tentacles. Widen your horizon! Acquire and develop skills. Be actively involved in moot and mock competitions, debate competitions, internship opportunities, sporting events, quiz competitions, journalism, politics, religious activities etc.

Ikusika Bamidele,
Law Student, OAU.

Content Provider, Legal Pages
10th November, 2017.